Parents turn in their sons after seeing $13 robbery on video
By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: March 11, 2013
They were caught on camera, a pair of teenage boys eyeing a young girl's wallet.
After watching the 9-year-old girl pay, surveillance footage shows, they went outside the Jaquez Mini Market in East Germantown. There, they waited for her to exit, police said, based on views from outdoor cameras.
About 8:30 a.m. Friday, they approached the third grader as she left the store at Wakefield and East Ashmead Streets. They approached her, police said, grabbed her wallet, and ran eastward down East Ashmead with their loot: $13 in cash.
Police sent out a classic release to news outlets Friday: "The Philadelphia Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in identifying the suspects. . . ."
They also sent video with clips from the security-camera footage, simultaneously distributing the video on social media. The video they posted on YouTube quickly racked up hundreds of views; the site's visitor counter showed it had been viewed more than 1,100 times by Saturday evening.
About 11:30 p.m. Friday, the first boy's mother showed up at the 14th Police District's headquarters, at Germantown Avenue and West Haines Street, a detective said. Her boy in tow, the mother said she had seen the video and identified her son as one of the robbers.
Police received a phone call about an hour later: The second boy's parents had also seen the video and wanted to turn their son in.
Officers picked them up at their house, the detective said, and took them to the detective division.
Both boys, one 14, the other 13, were interviewed and charged with robbery and related offenses, said Officer Christine O'Brien, a police spokeswoman. The boys went home with their parents.
Police do not identify minors.
In a phone interview, the detective credited the parents for turning in their sons. And criminals, take note: Security cameras have gotten better, he said. It was only a matter of time.